A respected pundit on national television last night was asked if she really believed that there would be a nuclear war with North Korea.
"Probably not," she answered.
That's not good enough.
Even the possibility of such a serious event needs to be considered. Newsweek says a war with North Korea would result in one million dead. And that is if it doesn't go nuclear.
None of us can even contemplate the death toll of a nuclear exchange. Some estimates say 10 million lives. Some say much more. Even if the United States totally annihilated her enemy, even one nuclear hit on our mainland would substantially reduce us as an economic power.
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Here are 10 reasons why nuclear war may happen:
1. North Korean president, Kim Jong-Un has a psychotic streak. If NBC and USA Today are to be believed, he fed his uncle to live, hungry dogs. (Really?) And CNN says he likely arranged the assassination of his own half brother.
2. Kim Jong Un has shown a willingness to sacrifice his own people. He has maintained prison camps for thousands of North Koreans, many who were born into the camps, where they are still imprisoned, because of the crimes of their parents. A recent escapee reported that he was encouraged from birth to denounce his own parents and witnessed their torture and execution. Thus the deterrent of mutual assured destruction, (MAD), that held the world in check for two generations, may no longer offer restraint.
3. Kim has paid a huge price to get his nuclear weapons. He allowed millions of North Koreans to die in a national famine, while using all of his resources to advance his military. For what purpose?
4. Reports suggest that North Korea is on the verge of economic collapse and may be willing to sell its nuclear technology to terrorist organizations such as ISIS or to Iran.
5. Kim's hostility toward America is three generations in the making. Both his father and grandfather saw the United States as their chief enemy.
6. Kim showed what he is capable of doing up close in the personal example of Otto Warmbier. Otto was an American student, visiting North Korea with a youth group. He was arrested for trying to take a propaganda poster as a souvenir. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and then given an early release. He returned to the U.S. in coma where he died within days.
7. Communist ideology allows for mass murder. One of its tenets, promoted by Lenin, holds that there should be a one party state. This has led to the execution of opponents. Scholars estimate that the number of mass murders by communists regimes is between a low of 21 million to a high of 70 million. But some scholars put the figure at 85-100 million. I visited Cambodia after the genocide of Pol Pot. In his virulent version of communism, he marked for execution all educators, journalists, artists, clergy, soldiers and even anyone wearing eye glasses. It was determined that if a person wore eye glasses they could probably read and Pol Pot wanted to build his new Marxist regime from the bottom up. We have no way of knowing what Pol Pot would have done if he had nuclear weapons.
8. Kim is isolated and surrounded by sycophants. It will impact his judgement. We have all experienced hubris in ourselves and others. Having worked for more than one president, I can tell you that the most humble, self effacing, person can be corrupted and will become corrupted within weeks of power. Kim Jong Un has been insulated from criticism and lavished with praise for three generations.
9. Kim may be talented enough to fund and build his nuclear program and still, at the same time, be illogical in conducting his nation's war policy. Governments can be both efficient and illogical at the same time. The Germans under Hitler organized the mass execution of millions of people even while many of their victims argued right up to the end that such a government program was not possible, that they and their professions were needed for the war effort. Why would a government kill its own doctors, scientists, and talented engineers?
10. History is filled with the stories of miscalculations that led to war. World War I began when clumsy diplomats misunderstood communications. We are told that the U.S. has many options and need not fear. I sat in the green room of Fox yesterday, talking to two, respected generals, who outlined what we can do to protect ourselves. But both generals admitted that we have consistently miscalculated about North Korean nuclear capabilities. And many of our options for defense have never been put to the test.
Can a government that cannot run its own veteran's hospitals perfectly execute every offensive military program, every time?
Doug Wead is a presidential historian who served as a senior adviser to the Ron Paul presidential campaign. He is a New York Times best-selling author, philanthropist, and adviser to two presidents, including President George H.W. Bush. He is the author of "Game of Thorns: Inside the Clinton-Trump Campaign of 2016," which is due to be released on Feb. 28, 2017. Read more reports from Doug Wead — Click Here Now.
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